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Mentoring: What skill have they learnt behind your click? 

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After killing MS Excel by accidentally hiding all the toolbars, one semi-nervous breakdown later, I dove deep into the different software applications that Microsoft had to offer (1996). I fell in love with formulas, pivot tables, Vlookups, slide shows, project management, gantt and pert charts, baselines, tracking and resources.

This knowledge and skill started saving me time, and I felt an immense pride at my knack of learning systems and streamlining processes. I would observe a colleague clicking away and would start feeling the draw to assist and guide as I knew there was a quicker method.

I learnt the fine art of instruction, or so I thought. It was months later that I found out I was known as the ‘Did you know if you click here girl’.

I loved sitting casually showing a colleague how to do a mail merge or run a macro. I would walk past a desk and inevitably I would be called to quickly help. During these assist sessions, I never placed my hand on the mouse. There is no power in doing someone else’s work.

What skill have they learnt behind your click? 

The opportunity to empower them has now become your moment to act as guru in the field. No, that is not mentoring. That is showing off intentionally, or on the rare occasion, unintentionally.

What I did, was to navigate them step for step through the process which would enable them to do it themselves the next time. I grew in mentoring and, without realising it, my colleagues grew with me. I completed my qualifications in this field and was one of three Microsoft Master instructors in South Africa at the time.

I remember driving to Pretoria to take the online exams at the University of South Africa, not used to the bumper to bumper traffic my nerves were frizzled by the time I got to campus. It had been arranged for me to write a certain amount of modules per day, over the period of 3 days. I wrote my first batch of exams and asked the invigilator if I could please complete the next few.

The thought of driving in and competing with the traffic the next day had me more nervous than my exams!

The professor was called in and agreed that I could complete as many modules on the day as I saw fit. To conclude, I wrote all 7 modules that day. Traffic crisis averted and one very amused and proud professor later. It is amazing what we can achieve with the right internal motivators!

I discovered the role of a mentor is a significant one. You have to be willing to share yourself, your knowledge, your successes and your failures. To mentor is time-consuming and it is not always received in the spirit that you might hope for. I have always thought of the mentoring process as a seed. I water, prune and add compost the soil. I do not expect to witness the season of growth and harvest immediately, and at times, I make peace that the mentees fruit bearing season will likely come to fruition when I am no longer in the picture.

Their next employer, their own business, their family and friends will benefit from the small seeds that I had planted and nurtured years before.

My love for growth and coaching has never stopped. My business has grown, and I have loyal clients who refer me to other corporates and so the number of delegates has steadily grown. At an interview in 2017, a journalist dubbed me a Skills Influencer, as I have facilitated training for more than 6000+ delegates over the years. I'll take that, as this is my why, adding value, helping save time and energy, motivating and mobilising a culture of growth. Influencing skill one mindset at a time.

Mindsets,  how we not only approach facilitation, but receive it,  is a whole different ballgame.  The very reason I went on to further my studies and become a NLP practitioner was my observation that delegates love the training, but don't have the confidence to fully grab and run with it

Mindsets hindered growth, and combining coaching with skills facilitation has been the perfect combo to my approach.  I see true perspective shifts and sustainable growth.

Key takes:

  • Be humble in your approach when assisting others and facilitating growth or change.
  • Ensure your intention behind the conversation is to help, not hinder or harm. Leaving someone feeling inadequate is never the goal.
  • Understanding a mindset before the mentoring or coaching process plays a vital role in the outcome of your session.
  • Opportunities will not necessarily take on the shape and the form that you have been jotting down in your goal list or your diary.
  • Make space for change. You never know how it will be a connecting dot in a much larger picture.

I have shared a little on my personal background and growth. NEXT STEPS: I would like you to jot down the mentors in your life and the key focus areas they have influenced. Why not type a short mail or message to thank them for the dots they connected in your life and business, no matter how many years prior?

Gratitude, reflection, conversations and feedback matters.

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